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10 Summer Cocktails to Make Right Now

Ah, summer. The weather gets hotter, the days grow longer and life seems a little bit easier. The season’s adventures can leave you parched, though, so be sure you’re armed with one of these thirst-quenching cocktail recipes.

From a classic Mojito to a ruby-red riff on a Highball that uses fresh summer raspberries, to a bright and bitter spritz, this list of drinks is chilled for maximum refreshment and, well, fun. No one wants to assemble complicated ingredients when it’s hot as nuts outside. You just want a simple, cooling and tasty cocktail to sip as you while the long, sweaty hours away. These 10 cocktails will help you do precisely that.

1. Whiskey Smash

Whiskey Smash cocktail / Tim Nusog

When people think of summer drinks, they tend to think of clear spirits––gin, vodka, tequila––but brown spirits can be equally refreshing. Take this bourbon, lemon and mint classic. It’s zesty, sweet enough and as full of flavor as a whiskey drink should be. Just because all you want to do is take a nap, that doesn’t mean it’s what your tastebuds want, too.

Get the recipe.

2. High King Highball

High King Highball cocktail
 Jenny Adams

New York City cocktail destination Pouring Ribbons created this drink with the intention of making a summer hit. Success! Irish whiskey and Aperol provide a bracing backbone to the drink, letting the muddled raspberries, lemon and grapefruit shine.

Get the recipe.

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3. Land of Happy

Land of Happy cocktail
 312 Chicago

Don’t let the homemade shrub made with honeydew, basil and white balsamic scare you away from this cocktail. It’s as easy as blending ingredients together, then letting them simmer on the stove. What are you doing with all your summer melon rinds, anyway––throwing them out? Once the shrub is made, assembling the drink is as easy as one, two, three.

Get the recipe.

4.  Blackberry Wine Slushy

Blackberry Wine Slushy cocktail

When it’s too hot for a glass of red wine, this blender drink will cool you down. Vodka, blackberries, orange juice and wine are sweetened with agave then, after a whir, garnished with yet more blackberries. Because during this season the motto is: More berries, please.

Get the recipe.

5. Mojito

Mojito cocktail / Tim Nusog

The iconic Cuban cocktail is a breath of crisp air on a hot summer day. Muddled mint imparts an invigorating zing to the sweetened mixture of lime juice and rum. Club soda to top adds just the right amount of effervescence to keep you on your toes when the heat is dragging you—and your feet.

Get the recipe.

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6. Golden Gate Spritz

Golden Gate Spritz
Claire Sprouse

Lazy summer afternoons are asking for this easy three-ingredient spritz variant, the genre being the potable version of a summer anthem. For this spritz, finish amaro and grapefruit juice with sparkling wine, garnish with a grapefruit peel, then kick back and chill.

Get the recipe.

7. Vida Paloma

Vida Paloma cocktail
Olivia Romano


This twist on a traditional Paloma from Fat Baby Tacos in Chicago uses mezcal instead of tequila to give the fruity cocktail a smoked touch. Fresh grapefruit juice, simple syrup and club soda replace the traditional grapefruit soda, and the chile-piquín-rimmed glass adds a layer of spice.

Get the recipe.

8. Por Mi Amante

Por Mi Amante cocktail
 Will Thompson

Strawberry-infused rum is summer in a glass on its own, but it’s especially seasonal when mixed with lemon juice and a fresh-strawberry-demerara syrup that’s a breeze to make. Add a few dashes of Tabasco for kick, to keep it lively.

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Get the recipe.

9. Aperol Spritz

Aperol Spritz cocktail / Tim Nusog

This classic spritz is an Italian happy-hour tradition and has gained its own following this side of the pond. Low-ABV Aperol gets hit with prosecco and soda water for a gulpable aperitivo. Serve it with finger foods, like olives and charcuterie, and you won’t feel guilty for having your second glass. This one is as sessionable as it gets.

Get the recipe.


10. Cucumber, Basil & Lime Gimlet

Cucumber, Basil & Lime Gimlet cocktail / Tim Nusog

This ultra-refreshing take on a Gimlet has all the best parts in the name, so you know exactly what to expect: Hydrating cucumber, fragrant basil and lime. Plus, vodka and lemonade––you know, in case your thirst needs extra quenching. Pure sunshine in a glass.

Get the recipe.


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